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What ever happened to Moshe’s sons?


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Tammuz 14, 5776
Concerning Mosheh Rabbeinu’s sons, I know of the view that his sons were just regular Leviyim and thus they are not mentioned in much detail in Tanakh because they were average. I thought I once had heard that one source claimed they returned to Midyon but I can’t remember if this was only during the time that Mosheh Rabbeinu returned to Mitzrayim or if they never entered Eretz Yisrael and thus were never mentioned because of that. Can anyone shed some light on this?
Moshe’s wife and their 2 sons were on their way with Moshe to Egypt (Shmot 4), but Moshe sent them back to Midyan (18, 2), so they shouldn’t have to suffer the bondage. Only after we left Egypt, they all met Israel in the desert together with Yitro, their grandfather (ibid, 5-6). The Talmud cites (Bava Batra 109b) that the priest of Mica’s idol was the descendant of Moshe’s son Gershom (see the Hebrew (!) in Shoftim, 18, 30), confirming that Moshe’s sons did “stick around” with Israel and didn't leave to Midyan. The obvious and also moral reason most oft-cited for their lack of mention is to teach that, as opposed to the Cohanim, prophecy and Torah knowledge are within everyone’s grasp, and clearly not inherited. One cannot rest upon the laurels of his parents' "yichus", but rather must invest his own time and effort. When the Midrash cites that Moshe’s sons davka did not spend time learning (Tanchuma Pincha 11), it’s hard to know whether this is historical or whether, like many midrashim, the rabbis wish to teach us a lesson for our lives, which is what’s most important. Because of the relative “silence” regarding Gershom and Eliezer, some modern day secular and gentile novelists (!), “allowed” themselves to fictionally “fill in the gap” and those imaginary stories may be what you have heard. Especially in a generation of internet, urban legends, etc. it’s more important than ever, both intellectually and spiritually, to learn the Tanach, and genuine traditions and teachings thoroughly, to prevent admittedly foreign and phony influences.
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